Jihadi Rafaa on the run, but not on the island

POSTED: 08/2/16 9:39 AM

St.maarten– Information that the presumed jihadi Rachid Rafaa was on the run in St. Martin circulated on social media on Thursday. Rafaa was placed under house arrest in Martinique in May 2014, but on July 27 he no longer respected the conditions and he has been on the run since that day.

“We have been informed like everybody else that Rafaa is on the run,” Captain Emmanuel Maignan says. “His description has been given to the immigration at the port and the airport on the French side. We have also alerted the police on the Dutch side, but we do not have a single concrete indication that he is on the run on our island. The only thing we know is that he is no longer at his home in Martinique.”

Rafaa was born in Morocco in 1976. The authorities in his country suspect him of links to Aqmi, the Islamic branch of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.

Rafaa is a technician and not someone the authorities consider capable of a suicide attack. “He supposedly helped Aqmi to distribute their messages via the internet. This suspicion has been shared by the French counter-terrorism services. They say that Rafaa is known for his membership of the international jihadist movement,” the national gendarmerie says.

The police in Philipsburg sent out an alert about Rafaa on Thursday as well, but it later retracted the message, saying that it had been sent our prematurely.

Congressman Daniel Gibbs nevertheless urged people to be vigilant in a press release issued yesterday.

“France is a country at war against terrorism and the enemies of democracy and secularism.”

Gibbs wonders how France could have refused to extradite Rafaa to Morocco on the pretext that he would be subject to torture in that country.

Gibbs party demands that those who have been condemned for terrorism will not benefit from automatic sentence reductions and that all foreigners with a proven link to terrorist groups are deported.

“The attacks that have recently saddened and bruised our country demand a plan of action without mercy for the enemies of France,” Gibbs stated.

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